Keep on Vegasssing in the Free World
December 10th, 2003

'Tis the season for TWoP Con Recaps, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-SNARK!

Mathra and I came late to the Las Vegas gathering this year -- writing an exam and generally small purse strings due to such an expensive coast-to-coast move were the reasons for that. However, the brevity of time spent in no way lessened our enjoyment of all that went on.

Even though we managed to catch an earlier flight (we FLEW, we did not DRIVE NINE HOURS! God.), it was still a mad, sweaty dash to the Paris hotel to be in time for the meeting. I left Mathra to check in, called Gustave's cell, learned that he was on his way to the meeting room, and then ran into Alex Richmond looking gorgeous at the elevators.

At the meeting, Glark doled out awesome "The Wrath of Con" tee-shirts with Kirk screaming "Con! Con! Con!" on it. If you've already been to Glarkware, then you're well aware of his brilliant designs. If you haven't been there, you need to go. Now. Glark also presented me with a pack of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan playing cards, which I am still kevelling over. But more about the shirt. After carrying on a torrid, three-day affair, I'm happy to announce that I married it, went on a mini-mental honeymoon, and brought it home to meet the cats. Mathra is surprisingly sanguine about it. I fear he doesn't guess the depths of my shirt love.

Après la meeting, Alex and Gustave generously hosted what I think could be only be described as a cocktail soirée, not party. If we had stayed in New York, New York, it would have been a party, but since we were in the Paris it was definitely La Soirée du Bevvies. Plus, since we all just drip with class, culture, and cleverness, we could never have something so unimaginative as a party. Not when there are other words around.

As planned and promised, Mathra and I tossed in a bottle of Pimm's and a bottle of Smirnoff Sour Apple vodka to the large stash Alex and Gustave already had set up. It was my intention to mix the two, thereby creating a fabulous new cocktail. Since Alex The Drinks Wench hit upon the perfect proportions -- which I screwed up later by somehow quadrupling them in my glass and making Mathra drink it -- I'm christening that drink "Pimm's and Alex Richmond." It wasn't until the next night that I sampled champagne and Pimm's, which was so fabulously bubbly and sumptuous that there aren't even words. Not even from a recapper. Pimm's and vodka vanille was also très tastique, and I'm not usually much of a vanilla fan.

Dinner that night was delicious and al dente, where we drank a 2001 Barbera d'Asti and insisted they take away the 2000 (horrors!), which was not a good year. Some places try to pull crap like that. They'll give you a good year with a bad year and charge you for the price of two good years. I just asked if they had any more 2001 and our patient waitress brought another one out. And it's not like I'm so oenologically knowledgeable that I have all years -- good and bad -- memorized, I just know that the odd years are better, and 2000 was a particularly bad year for Italian wines.

Dinner duly digested, we hoofed over to Ellis Island to engage in some karaoke. Alas, it was not to be. There was a three-and-a-half-hour waiting list to sing, and after watching some guy play air piano and another guy go through all the songs o'Creed, we left to have much hilarity playing Mulderdash. After that, Mathra and I (Team Married) wandered down to the Casino with a few others to give Lady Luck more money to buy herself some decent clothes. Strega tried in vain to teach me video poker -- I just don't get the bidding, and I'd rather play Blackjack which is easier for my simple mind made simpler by drink to deal with -- but Mathra got me to play nickel slots. They've now got that game set up for the supremely lazy. You don't even have to pull the lever anymore! You just press buttons. I was having none of that. I opted for the lever and won twenty-five bucks! "After an initial investment of ten bucks," Mathra feels the mathematical need to add. Whatever, I won money and got a drink with it.

The next day was side aside to take Mathra to Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. While Mathra, Shack, and Sushi went on the awesome but nausea-inducing ride, I bought a bunch of stuff on the Promenade: a white Tribble for the cats, which Hunca Munca is already jealously playing fetch with and subsequently attacking; a Beanie Baby Targ for Wing and Glark; a magnet of Laughing Spock and Furrowing Quantum for the fridge; Romulan Ale for kicks; and a key chain made out of a Day-Glo yellow isolinear chip because it's awesome. Those treasures combined with my adored shirt, WOK cards and a host of mini mustard and ketchup jar/bottles from room service equal quite a good haul. Although, I did ask Mathra what in the world we are going to do with two mini mustards and three mini ketchup jar/bottles and he said, "For picnics!"

We don't go on picnics.

Dinner was at a sushi buffet in the Aladdin hotel. They were pulling the food as we got there, so it was a free-for-all for twenty minutes followed by getting extremely stuffed as I felt like I never looked up from my plate. I had a stuffed mushroom explode on me as I bit into it, but I don't think anyone noticed. Explosion aside, it was delicious-o. Sushi-stuffing buffet was followed by more Mulderdash, more laughing, some goodbyes, packing, and bed. More squinty-eyed goodbyes as we ran into people the next morning (or was it afternoon?), then catching the shuttle, and standing in the most INSANE security lines I've ever seen in my life.

The Gist

I finally met a few people who weren't there last year -- Djb and Regina Rouge (although Regina will tell you she met me a few years ago in Toronto. The trick is, I wasn't even in Toronto at the time!) -- and got to talk more with people I only waved at across a crowded room last year.

Memoires, Misty L'Eau-Coleured Memoires

AB Chao and the cowboys that followed her from the Paris casino to Ellis Island and then back to the really bad band at the Paris casino at 3 in the Ay Em. I'm still wracking what brain cells I have left trying to figure out what knife skills book I can rec to her. She knows the Wüsthof love and (I think) even made references to cutting her hair with the Wüsthof love. Or maybe that was someone else. I don't know -- so much is a blur now. Oh, wait! I totally found a book! It's called Fly Keckler to Louisiana and She Will Give You Private Lessons. It's going to be a best-seller. Like Pamie.

Regina Rouge and her purloined pilsner glass (Wait, isn't that a Nancy Drew mystery?), which I'm hoping she somehow managed to smuggle home. In our drunkeness, we seemed to find it quite hysterical that she would smuggle it down her pants or in her bra as she boarded the plane. It didn't seem to occur to us that she could pack it in her luggage. Of course, if it had occurred to us, I wouldn't have pinched a neck nerve laughing. Sweet, sweet pain. In late-breaking news, I've discovered that Regina loves Jamie Oliver and for that I'll have to kill her. It's sad, I know.

Eating greasy plates of "French" food at 4 AM with Mathra, Strega, and Shack, while clutching the oddly tinted Champagne Cocktail Mathra bought me with my winnings and discussing Angst.

Djb and his voices. No, not the ones in his head. Surely y'all have seen him do his Edna Garret impression on VH-1, well, in person? Even funnier.

Tangled Up in Bleu

Coming home and discovering what drinking three Romulan Ales the night before does to your system is a pretty way to come back to reality. Ah, blue-tinted beer from El Salvador, the gift that keeps on coloring your world in so many ways. Seriously, it's gross and they really should put a warning label on the bottles lest people think they've suddenly turned into King George III. Honestly? That was the first thought that entered my mind, and I figured I'd soon be telling my cats that I wanted them to marry a rose bush.

Merci Beaupeep

Pamie and Stee for inventing Mulderdash and patiently teaching all of us how to play. And score. Lest you think otherwise, it has nothing (NOTHING!) to do with The X-Files, but as patent should be pending, I will say no more. Except that it's brilliant and as Mathra said, "Only this group would come up with a game where being funny counts against you." So when you lose horribly, it's really because you're just too too funny, right? Riiiight.

Alex Richmond and Gustave for the shot glasses, the booze, and the damn fun company. Oh, and BY THE WAY I carried a sheet of RED CONSTRUCTION PAPER around with me the entire trip. You guys are awesome and I love you. But not more than The Shirt.

Strega, Shack, Sushi, and Sara M for suffering through The Star Trek Experience with me and Mathra (with all the costumed people whose eyes we studiously avoided) and partaking of luridly-tinted drinks afterwards while studiously discussing all Star Treks, and the ins and outs (but mostly outs) of Firefly with Raoul, the hot waiter.

A note for Sara M: You name the time, I'll name the place, and we'll take on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in a Tandemtastic Extra. In fact, I bid we call it "The Tandemtastic Extra." Do you raise or call?

Finally, to Sars, Wing Chun and Glark for dinner, tee-shirts, cards, fun times, and generally good bossiness. And by "bossiness" I mean, them as they are in the state of being our bosses and not that they are "bossy." Except when we don't USE THE TEMPLATE OR SPELLCHECK, DAMMIT, IT'S THERE FOR A REASON AND IT'S NOT AN OPTION!

There are always the people you wish you'd spent more time with, and the ones you know you've spent more than enough time with. Like Mathra. I'm not kidding, buddy, we're not in Vegas any more so stop pretending we like each other. I'm with The Shirt now.

So now I'm home, back to wondering why Crocodile Dundee is perpetually on various cable stations, and very concerned about the inner and indigo workings of my lower intestine. Thank god I have no plans to get a colonoscopy this week, I think I'd scare the popovers out of them. On second thought, that would be really funny. I'm gonna go make an appointment.

That's my news from Lake TWOP-e-con where all the recappers are gorgeous, all the forums are crazy, and all the HOPs are above average.

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